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Time Nats stood up to Act - Clark

2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark is calling on the Prime Minister to state exactly where National stands on Act's non-negotiable stance on the Treaty of Waitangi.

Helen Clark said that if the Prime Minister did not stand up to Richard Prebble and Act on these issues, it would be clear that her enfeebled National Party would also be dragged into right-wing extremism on health, education and superannuation.

"Leadership on any important issue is about fighting ignorance and lies, and not taking the easy route of extremism. Mr Prebble is trying to increase people's fears and misunderstanding of the Treaty process. The Prime Minister is too weak to take a lead, so she follows him.

"Jim Bolger took a principled stand on Treaty issues and Sir Douglas Graham put that into practice. Fearing that Act is cannibalising National's vote, the Prime Minister now seems content to follow Mr Prebble's extremist lead.

"The Prime Minister and National's weakness is a warning to New Zealanders of the power Mr Prebble would wield in a National-Act coalition.

"Labour is prepared to meet the leadership challenge on Treaty of Waitangi claims with the same positive attitude we bring to all of our policies to make New Zealand a better place.

"The claims process currently in place must be allowed to run its course, whatever the difficulties encountered along the way. There are no bumper-sticker solutions. Act's agenda would only pitch New Zealand into a new cycle of grievances and claims. It would not be fair, full or final.

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"Meanness and division in every area of policy would be the hallmarks of a National-Act Government. Act wants a skeleton state in public health and education. The massive tax cuts it proposes would demolish the public services New Zealanders expect.

"This demolition is the price the Prime Minister would pay for Mr Prebble's support. The evidence is that she and her colleagues are ready to pay it," Helen Clark said.

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